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Orpheum Theater Center construction update

The Orpheum Theater Center, owned and operated by Iowa Valley Community College District, has been closed since the July 19 tornado that struck Marshalltown. With an estimated $1.5 million in damages, the theater repair is being overseen by LJ Roth Restoration Service from Olds, Iowa. Barring any unforeseen delays, the Orpheum could re-open as soon as late April or early May this year.

As with many tornado-damaged structures, parts of the Orpheum were severely impacted while other areas were relatively untouched. The most critical damage was to the roof of the building, which was lifted up by the tornado, disconnected from the structure, and then slammed back down on top of the building. Workers finished the roofing project just prior to the end of December.

Extensive repairs continue to progress in the front entrance and lobby areas, the coffee shop (where the roof collapsed during the tornado), the restrooms, and the historical display room. Work being done by LJ Roth and its seven sub-contractors includes electrical repairs, HVAC repairs, window replacements (most windows were damaged by debris), and much more. Additional repairs to the exterior of the building will continue to take place as weather allows.

The photos highlight areas where much of the work is being done. IVCCD’s insurance covers all but the District’s deductible.

The Orpheum staff are working from inside the building, but the public is not allowed access at this time due to construction. To contact Bob Untiedt (Orpheum Director) or Tammy Losing (Office Associate) call 641-844-5920 or 641-844-5921 or email or The Orpheum website is online at

ORPHEUM PHOTOS (click photos to enlarge)

Front Entrance – The canopy into the Orpheum was damaged and is currently supported by temporary beams.

Roof – Crews completed work on the Orpheum roof just before the end of December.

Entry From Inside – This view of the front lobby facing the doors toward Main Street provides a glimpse of the extensive roof repairs from the inside. The six windows at the top of the wall have yet to be replaced, but the area above the windows is where workers had to rebuild the top of the wall to reconnect and repair the roof.

Ticket Booth Window – Glass on the ticket booth window will be replaced due to cracks and pitting caused by tornado debris. Nearly all the windows on the front and east side of the building have to be replaced.

Coffee Shop – Because the roof over the Coffee Shop collapsed, that entire area has been gutted and will be reconstructed. The area where the floor is raised is where the counter previously stood.

Lobby Into Display Area – This is a view of the concession area from the front entrance looking north. The doors on the right lead into the historical display room.

Concessions to Stairway – Another view of the concession area looking toward the stairway at the east end of the room.

Restroom – Some of the restroom fixtures can be repaired or reused, but much of the walls and flooring were permanently damaged and will be replaced. The ceiling had to be supported so that workers could build a platform above from which to access the rooftop work that was done on the inside.

2nd Floor Looking Down to Lobby – A view from the platform built above the main floor restrooms that looks down through to the front entryway.

Flooring – Most of the main level flooring was extensively damaged and will be replaced. This photo was taken in the Coffee Shop.

Artifact Damage – This large-scale historical photo was damaged in the tornado. Remarkably, most of the theater’s artifacts were not damaged. A sub-contractor has labeled all of the artifacts and valuables and is storing them until they can be returned to their previous locations.

Speared by 2×4 – The wall at the top of the east entrance to the Orpheum was speared by a 2×4 during the July 19 tornado. Many other objects were also thrust into the Orpheum’s roof as the tornado passed over, causing permanent damage to the membrane.

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